Create a Menu for Success!!

With an ever growing number of garden centres incorporating cafés it is important to ensure your catering offer stands out from the rest. Excellence in Garden Centre Catering: Creating the menu for success, a one day HTA conference in association with Garden Retail and Horticulture Week, will provide you with ideas and inspiration to maximise sales and keep your customers coming back for more. Places are still available for the event which takes place on Thursday 10 July at The Hilton, Bromsgrove.

In order to stay ahead of the competition it is vital to balance an inviting atmosphere with quality food and great staff whilst keeping food and labour costs to a minimum. This event represents an excellent opportunity for garden centre caterers, both experienced and new, to get together with like-minded individuals to listen to, compare and swap ideas.

Speakers at the event include recognised experts and café operators from both within and outside of the garden industry. They include:- Duncan Ackery CEO of Searcy, Cathy Butler from Ryton Organics and celebrity TV chef Mike Robinson (see notes to editors for full programme). Key sessions include reducing costs and improving profits, changes members have made in their garden centre cafés and tapping into trends. The day will focus on profiting from your catering operation by reducing costs and learning from the new benchmark data collected from members of the Catering Business Improvement Scheme (CBIS).

Andrew Maxted, HTA’s Director of Commercial Services said, “The programme is designed to ensure attendees leave this event with practical tips and examples from some of the best catering outlets across the UK to improve customer satisfaction and your profit margin.”

Whether you are a catering manager or a garden centre owner/manager involved in catering, Excellence in Garden Centre Catering will give you the deas and inspiration to maximise sales and keep your customers coming back for more.

To book your place download and return the brochure from the HTA events website,, or contact the HTA events team by calling 0118 9303132 or email


Coffee and registration from 9.00am

9.30 am – Chairman’s welcome and introduction from Carol Paris, Garden & Leisure

Reducing Costs and Improving Profits

Duncan Ackery, chief executive of Searcy, will discuss how they find the catering experience that keeps the customers coming back – but still making profit in the process

Neville Stein, founder of Ovation and one of the CBIS chairmen, will speak about the importance of understanding and benchmarking the profitability of garden centre catering

Chris Brown, Turpin Smale Foodservice Consultancy and one of the CBIS chairmen, will explain how CBIS has developed in it’s first year and some key examples from it

Discussion and Q & A

Short break for tea/coffee.

Changes in Real Life Garden Centre Cafés

Leading caterers including Frank Thompstone and Andy Evans of Byrkley Garden Centre, Robert Ducker of Langlands Garden Centre, Doug Stewart, Helen Joyce of Thirsk Garden Centre and Susan Givens of Heighley Gate Garden Centre will present details of the changes they have made to their catering offers

Panel discussion and Q & A

Lunch at 12.45pm


Legal Issues

Penny Worner, human resources advisor at the HTA will run through what can go wrong when employing catering staff and give tips on how to avoid doing them

John Dyson, food and technical affairs director at the BHA will give easy-to-follow tips on food safety

Marketing Your Café/Restaurant

A leading caterer will demonstrate how they market their café including the use of their website, branding and events

Doug Stewart will help you better understand and target your local market using the HTA’s Retail map initiative

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

A leading food critic will describe what they look for in a café and how to achieve it

Peter Smale, director of Turpin Smale Foodservice Consultancy and one of the CBIS chairmen, will give top tips from his experience on how to get customer service right

Expanding And Improving

Salim Sajid of Blueberry Foodservice Consultancy and Gary Wilburn of HPW Partnership will discuss the redesign of the catering offer at Wyevale (formerly Blooms) at Bicester

Short break for tea/coffee.

Tapping into trends

Chairman’s welcome and introduction to the last afternoon session from Carol Paris, Garden & Leisure

Cathy Butler, catering manager at Ryton Organics will explore the opportunities of the organic and whole food market including the impact on the consumer, what has been learnt and how it affects the business.

Case study: an example of the benefits of catering for all ages – how to attract children and the elderly, what to do and why it matters.

Discussion and Q & A

Mike Robinson, TV chef and founder of the Pot Kiln will talk about local sourcing and how he achieves his high standards of food quality at his restaurant, the Pot Kiln.

Discussion and Q & A

Carol Paris, Garden & Leisure, will close the day with a summary of the key lessons for the future.

Day Close at 4.45pm

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